Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to take stock of the 56-year old Indus Water Treaty today. Water Resources Minister Uma Bharti and other senior officials will today brief PM Modi on the same. The Treaty, was a water sharing agreement signed between Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and then President of Pakistan, Ayub Khan in September 1960 in Karachi.
The agreement covers water distribution and sharing rights of six rivers- Beas, Ravi, Sutlej, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum. It was brokered by the World Bank. It was signed because the source of the aforementioned rivers came from India. And in case the two countries were to go at war, Pakistan feared that India could potentially create a situation of drought for them. A Permanent Indus Commission set up in this connection has gone through three wars between the two countries without disruption and provides a bilateral mechanism for consultation and conflict-resolution through inspections, exchange of data and visits.
As per the details of the agreement, the “eastern rivers” of Beas, Ravi and Sutlej were allocated to India for use of water without restriction while the “western rivers” of Indus,Jhelum and Chenab were given to Pakistan.
In the wake of the deadly Uri attack, where 18 soldiers of the Indian Army were killed by four militants who stormed in the Base, it has been suggested that India should scrap the water distribution pact in order to mount pressure on Pakistan.
“For such a treaty to work, cooperation and trust between both sides are essential,” MEA spokesperson, Vikas Swarup had asserted last week. “It cannot be a one-sided affair,” he said, noting that the preamble of the treaty was based on ‘goodwill’.
Meanwhile, Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh said the state will fully support whatever decision is taken by the Union government on the 1960 agreement.
“The treaty has caused huge loss to Jammu and Kashmir” as the people of the state cannot fully utilise the waters of various rivers, particularly Chenab in Jammu, for agricultural and other activities, said Singh.